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Future doctors call for an end to unhealthy homes

Future doctors call for an end to unhealthy homes

11 August 2014

Press Release From New Zealand Medical Students Association and Medical Students for Global Awareness

New Zealand medical students are calling on the country’s political leaders to tackle unhealthy homes in New Zealand by implementing a warrant of fitness for private rental housing.

“My classmates and I see children admitted to hospital with respiratory illnesses every day. Many of these cases could be avoided if children lived in warm and dry homes,” said Rennie Qin, a 5th year medical student. “Doctors are using their training and time to deal with illnesses that could be easily prevented.”

The New Zealand Medical Students Association and Medical Students for Global Awareness have written a joint letter to the leaders of political parties to draw their attention to the issue, and are planning further advocacy efforts in the lead up to the national election.

“Political parties must commit to a warrant of fitness for private rental housing, not just state housing,” said Marise Stuart, a final year medical student and president of the New Zealand Medical Students Association. “There have been a range of incentive programmes recently, but they’re not enough. Unless we improve rental housing, we’ll still be dealing with these tragically preventable cases when we graduate as doctors.”

The proposed warrant of fitness scheme would require rental properties to meet certain standards that research has shown significantly impact upon health and safety. “There is robust evidence behind the worth of WOF,” said Rennie.

A recent trial conducted by six city councils, the Green Building Council and the University of Otago gathered data on a range of issues that would help guide implementation of a warrant scheme.

The medical students are challenging political parties to prioritise the introduction of a rental housing warrant of fitness scheme during the next parliamentary term, and calling on New Zealanders to vote for healthy homes this election.

About us
Medical Students for Global Awareness is a nationwide network of medical students who are passionate about addressing health inequalities on a global and local scale.

New Zealand Medical Students Association is the national representative body for students studying medicine in New Zealand.


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